Aging secrets from the Blue Zones

42109205 - senior african american couple at home“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

There’s no fountain of youth, but there are habits that can set you up for success as you age. What does it take to become a centenarian and truly enjoy life as you advance in years? Here’s a look at some of the commonalities between people in Blue Zones — areas where people have long lifespans and low rates of chronic disease.

1. Integrate basic movement into your everyday life.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t run marathons or do CrossFit. Instead, they’re always on the go and seldom sedentary. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical interventions for house and yard work. In other words, their activities of daily living keep them healthy and fit. Movement is more of an afterthought than something they intentionally seek out.

2. Find purpose.

Whether it’s through one’s zone or a hobby, knowing your sense of purpose is key to aging happily and healthfully. Experts say it’s worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3. Destress.

People in Blue Zones are not immune from stress. Such a feeling is associated with chronic inflammation. Every major age-related disease is caused or exasperated by high inflammatory markers. What the world’s oldest people have that we don’t are routines that help them cope. For instance, Sardinians do happy hour and this social interaction can pay dividends. Some people turn to four-legged friends as therapy or go for daily walks. Others have hobbies that keep them centered. Whatever the case, these healthy coping mechanisms can mean the difference between a mediocre quality of life and a rich one. Even just 10 minutes each day can improve your outlook and lower stress.

4. Follow the 80% rule.

What if you stopped when you felt 80 percent full? Think about how that might positively impact your waistline. In Okinawa, they do just that. Their fellow peers in other Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening, and then they don’t eat anymore for the rest of the day. That means no snacking!

5. Eat mostly plants.

Blue Zoners tend to be more omnivorous than carnivorous. Beans, soy, and lentils tend to be staples of centenarians. Meat is mostly ceremonial and only eaten a few times a month — and in moderation. Serving sizes are 3 to 4 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards. People in these regions also tend to eat very little or no dairy.

6. Lean into Happy Hour.

Dry red, anyone? People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. The data tell us that moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers but with a few caveats. The trick is to drink one to two glasses per day with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and go on a bender on Saturday to round it out.

7. Find belonging.

Are you a regular at Sunday services? Blue Zone residents are keen on faith-based communities. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month can add up to 14 years of life expectancy.

8. Put loved ones first.

Family is at the center of life in Blue Zones where they often live in multi-generational households. Aging parents and grandparents live nearby or in the home. These individuals commit to a life partner (which can add up to three years of life expectancy) and have strong connections to their children.

9. Find the right community.

Centenarians aren’t islands. On the contrary, they have rich and robust social circles that support healthy behaviors. For example, Okinawans create moais—pods of five friends that commit to each other for life. There’s research that shows we tend to adopt the habits and behaviors of those in our inner circles. In this sense, healthy practices are contagious!

To make it to age 100, there are some genetic factors at play. But most of us have the capacity to make it well into our early 90s and largely without chronic disease if we take care of ourselves, eat sensibly, move more and make a point to put friends and family first. In this sense, nature and nurture both matter and it’s never too late to make changes for the better.

What’s one of these habits you can work on this week? As Dan Buettner, who studied Blue Zones, puts it: “Living longer and feeling better is the sum of a few small easy choices you can incorporate into everyday life.” In other words, start small and work your way from there and you’re bound to find success.

We hope that you find this message to be informative and useful as you look to making some changes in 2022. If you have specific questions or concerns about longevity, please feel free to contact us at (703) 822-5003. Remember, you’re never too old to invest in your health.

4 ways to sneak in more vitamin C

This year, as with every flu season, everyone is trying their best to steer clear of cold-causing germs. Of course, best practices are to wash your hands (20 seconds under hot water with soap), get adequate sleep, drink plenty of fluids and keep your home clean. You can also keep flu at bay by bolstering your immune system with vitamin c.
16311394 - sick woman  flu  woman caught cold  sneezing into tissue

Our bodies do not naturally produce this essential nutrient, so one of the best ways to benefit from it is by eating vitamin c-rich foods.

Strawberries
Half a cup of this fruit contains 49 milligrams or 82 percent of the recommended daily value (DV). Lucky for us, strawberry season coincides with flu season, so stock up!

Other non-citrus fruits
While oranges generally come to mind when you think vitamin C, there are also plenty of non-citrus fruits brimming with the immune-booster, and sometimes offer even more. These fruits include guava (140 percent of the DV for a single guava), kiwi (one kiwi comes in at 79 percent of the DV) and papayas (one cup provides 97 percent of the DV). Try cutting them up for a delicious cold-fighting fruit salad.

Herbs
Thyme and parsley are big vitamin C providers. In fact, fresh thyme has three times more vitamin C than oranges and two tablespoons of fresh parsley provide 11 percent of the recommended DV. Sprinkle your meal with these herbs and not only do you end up with a palate pleaser, but you’ll also benefit from the vitamin C you need to help fight flu-bearing germs.

Cabbage and sauerkraut
Red cabbage, in particular, is high in vitamin C, but when fermented into sauerkraut, you can expect the vitamin C levels to increase by more than 600 milligrams per cup!

Vitamin C is water soluble, which means our body does not store it. You want to make sure you’re getting the recommended daily dose through consuming food that contains it, and incorporating a little more into your diet when you feel a cold coming on or in the thick of flu season. Don’t let the flu get you down this season. Cheers to good health now, and year-round!

The skinny on gut health

43693853 - closeup up the bowl of healthy breakfastFor years, scientists have known about the existence of another brain within our bodies. No, it’s not science fiction but reality. Our stomach functions totally independently and does far more than just digestion. It’s said that health begins in the gut, which is to say that its condition can influence and impact our overall health. Chronic inflammation in the gut is known to cause various diseases and conditions ranging from mild to acute.

On the other hand, lifestyle factors can be a boon to one’s microbiome, also known as the collection of the gut’s microbes. Here’s a look at a few of the variables that can help or hinder the gut’s state and what you can do to optimize your microbiome.

Diet

This one is fairly obvious, but it’s worth noting. Think: You are what you eat. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides the fiber that makes the good bacteria happy. For example, a bowl of oatmeal with some berries is a great way to start your day and keep your gut healthy and happy.

Nutritionists and dieticians also recommend fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, kombucha and the like to balance the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut. If you suffer from chronic constipation and bloating, you may have an undiagnosed condition to blame. Make sure to express any concerns to your doctor and make note of any recent changes in your bathroom habits. It helps to keep a food journal so you can better connect the dots.

Sleep

A good night’s rest is a friend to anyone, but there’s more to rest than we give it credit for. Just as R&R is good for your overall constitution, a deficit can also prove to be detrimental. Poor quality or not enough sleep can increase your risk of obesity, which can wreak havoc on the gut. Side note: Some experts believe it’s a chicken-and-egg phenomenon. Does obesity cause poor gut health or does poor gut health cause obesity? We’re still learning a lot about metabolism and the role the gut plays in the process. In the meantime, we know that poor sleep hygiene can take its toll on the body and mind.

Movement

Sedentary people tend to have a less diverse microbiome than those who are more physically active. Importantly, physical activity increases the abundance of beneficial bacteria in your gut, enriches the diversity of the bacteria, and can enhance the production of disease-fighting compounds. It’s also known that exercise can help us manage our weight by keeping us “regular.” Even a daily 20-minute daily walk can help aid digestion. So get moving!

 

Stress management

Nerves got the best of you? There’s a reason some people get an upset stomach when they’re feeling uneasy. The state of our gut is reflected by our emotions and vice versa. The good news? The more you can manage stress — especially the chronic kind — the more you can maintain a healthy mix of gut flora.

Another reason to try to keep your cool? There’s a contingent of research that suggests that when we are exposed to stress, the abundance of health-promoting bacteria is reduced. The reduction in diversity and the low abundance of beneficial microbes in the gut can influence our mood, cognitive abilities, and behavior. The two-way communication system, known as the gut-brain axis, really is a powerful thing.

Travel

Travel can be a real wildcard. Airplanes, changing time zones, eating airport food and local cuisine, lack of hydration, and even stress can cause a microbial imbalance and manifest in digestive issues. However, eating whole foods can increase the abundance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Do your best to try to maintain some of your routine and your stomach will thank you.

Medications and Supplements

Certain prescriptions like antibiotics can destroy the balance in the gut. That’s why if you take one your doctor might recommend following it with a high-quality probiotic to help restore the beneficial gut flora. Other drugs can also disrupt the microbiome. Opioids, for example, like morphine, are associated with severe constipation. One study found up to 25% of 835 non-antibiotic drugs suppressed the growth of at least one bacterium.

On the proactive side of things, some people swear by collagen to nurture their microbiome on a daily basis. Collagen is beneficial to gut health because it contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine, glutamine and proline, which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract as well as the stomach.

When it comes to a healthy belly, there’s no magic bullet. What’s one gut-healthy habit you can work on this week?

We hope that you find this message to be informative and useful as we look to the promise of a new year. If you have specific questions or concerns about gut health, please feel free to contact us at (703) 822-5003. Remember, health is wealth!

How being intentional can change your life

Do your days ever run together so much that you’re left at the end of the week wondering where the time went and confused about what you actually accomplished? Did you enter into the weekend with the realization that your to-do list was not even close to completed?

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It is okay to find yourself in these scenarios every so often, but if it becomes a pattern that has you stressed and wanting to make a change, think about intentionally becoming…well, more intentional. You’ll see the difference when you do. Here’s how to start:

What to know about being intentional
Living with purpose has its benefits because you’re curating and living a life that is full of meaning for you. It ends up translating to a fulfilling life that greatly improves your attitude, stress level and relationships with others. When we wander through our life aimlessly, we may find ourselves more often in situations that make us unhappy or unsettled.

How to begin living intentionally
It’s simple in theory and just takes a little bit of finesse to adjust to your new way of living. First, start with truly engaging with people. For example, instead of thinking of what you want to say next as your co-worker is speaking, actively listen and take in what they’re saying. Your interactions will shift from having a transactional feel to feeling like they have more meaning, even if the conversation is about work.

You can also try these tips:

  • Every morning think about what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel when the day is over. Then, with that in mind, conquer your day in such a way that you can meet that intention.
  • When you find yourself in a scenario where you have a choice to make, take the time to evaluate your options. This can serve to empower you in other areas of your life.
  • Write down your goals. Follow the S.M.A.R.T goal criteria by making sure your goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-related.
  • Be observant of the world around you and act as you see fit. This can mean holding the door for the elderly or buying a coffee for a stressed-out mom.

Being intentional is a lifestyle shift that will do wonders for your mental health. You can also expect to feel more productive and better equipped to handle curveballs that come your way. If you want help being more intentional or you want to improve your goal-setting skills, call and make an appointment with Jenny Bair, Life Coach, at (972) 930-0260.

Omega 3’s vs. Omega-6s: What you need to know

Top view of different types of hummusRemember when fat used to be a dirty word? We’re looking at you, 1990s fad diets. The truth is, we as Americans were misguided by bad information. Somewhere along the way, we were taught to believe that all fats are created equally. In reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. Any knowledgeable provider will tell you that certain so-called “good” fats are essential for achieving and maintaining optimal health. You may be deficient in some of these fats. We’re talking about the good guys, omega-3s.

“Good” fats

For context, the major omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The latter are the fatty acids found in cold-water fish and fish oils are a darling of the integrative nutrition community today. But they weren’t always in favor. Scientists first became interested in omega-3s while studying native peoples in Alaska known as the Inuit. This ethnic group eats nearly 10 pounds of meat and blubber a day, with almost no reports of cardiovascular disease! You read that right!

News flash: Fat isn’t the enemy. The researchers soon concluded that there had to be something about omega-3 fats that was different from other types. In contrast to omega-6 fats, it has health-promoting properties.

Benefits of omega-3s

Fast forward to today and the benefits of omega-3 oils are still being studied. However, we do have hard data that can guide patient care and outcomes. First, it’s known that omega-3 oils decrease VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins). These are the worst of the worst when it comes to causing coronary artery disease. In other words, eating foods rich in omega-3s has the effect of lowering triglycerides, the fat found in your blood.

Secondly, omega-3 oils are helpful in that they promote the production of good prostaglandins over bad prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that serve many functions in the body. The good ones make blood more “slippery” and tend to relax the smooth muscles in blood vessels, promoting good cardiovascular health. Of course, this is an overly simplified explanation, but you get the idea.

Other research indicates that increasing omega-3 oils and decreasing omega-6 oils (most vegetable oils) decreases the risk of cancer. The benefits of eating omega-3 oils extend into other diseases as well, including arthritis, asthma, depression, and possibly bipolar disorders. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat,” and omega-3s can really help you in the quest for a long, healthy and happy life.

“Bad” fats

Some research suggests that early humans consumed equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in their diets and that this was beneficial to their health. But we’re no longer hunters and gatherers and our bodies work differently than they did centuries ago. Today, many people in the U.S. eat far more omega-6s than omega-3s. Researchers believe that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in a typical Western diet is 20-to-1 or higher. Wow!

A lot of omega-6 fats are “hidden,” in that they’re found in common processed foods such as cookies and crackers, as well as in fast food and fried foods. You can also find them in safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Just as omega-3s might be a boon to health, omega-6s can have adverse effects. For instance, a 2018 study found an association between a higher dietary intake of omega-6 fats and inflammation associated with tissue damage and disease. What’s more, the Arthritis Foundation claims that omega-6 fatty acids may trigger the body’s production of pro-inflammatory substances, potentially worsening symptoms in people with arthritis. Other data has linked diets high in omega-6 fats to obesity.

Dietary changes

Now for the good news? Armed with this information, you can make better choices when meal planning. For example, organic meat and milk differ markedly from their conventionally produced counterparts in measures of certain nutrients. In particular, levels of omega-3 fatty acids were 50 percent higher in the organic versions. The higher levels of omega-3 are because organic milk and beef come from cattle that graze on grass, while most conventional milk and beef come from grain-fed cows.

It’s recommended that Americans do their best to ensure that no more than 5% to 10% of their daily calories come from omega-6 fats. For someone consuming 2,000 calories a day, that translates into 11 to 22 grams. A salad dressing made with one tablespoon of safflower oil gives you 9 grams of omega-6 fats; one ounce of sunflower seeds, 9 grams; one ounce of walnuts, 11 grams. On the other hand, omega-3 fats can be readily found in oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines; fish oil and flaxseed oil; flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

If you still have questions about omega-3 and omega-6 fats and how they might affect your health, we’re just a phone call away. (703) 822-5003

Four reasons to eat pumpkin seeds this season

These little seeds are big on nutrients. Given that we are in the season of pumpkin patches and pumpkin pie, you probably have a surplus of pumpkin seeds. Instead of discarding them, clean them off and get to roasting!32978900_S

These tasty seeds are packed high with zinc, magnesium and the healthy kind of fat you want to consume. Not to mention that they’re incredibly versatile and delicious. Beyond adding flavor and crunch to your foods,here are just some of the health perks you may benefit from eating pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants.
Antioxidant-rich foods are known to protect the body against many diseases, as well as reduce and prevent uncomfortable inflammation. Antioxidants also help to prevent certain cancers.

Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium.
Magnesium is a mineral you need to stay healthy, but you may be surprised to know that at least half of all Americans (some studies report up to 80%) aren’t getting the recommended daily dosage. Magnesium helps with blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and more.

Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber.
You can expect a little over a one gram of fiber per one ounce serving of pumpkin seeds. That’s an impressive amount of fiber for such a small serving. Foods containing a fair amount of fiber promotes good digestive health, as well as a reduced risk of diabetes and obesity.

Pumpkin seeds may help you sleep.
And here you thought all of that Thanksgiving turkey was to blame. Tryptophan, an amino acid known to aid in sleep, found in turkey also occurs in pumpkin seeds. The high levels of magnesium and zinc in pumpkin seeds may lull you to better sleep.

So, give pumpkin seeds some love this season. Roast them and eat plain, sprinkle raw as a topping on salad, or even make your own granola with seeds, oats and other nutrient-rich foods.

Think proactive: Protect your eyesight with these tips

69300071 - portrait of handsome african businessman working with laptopCan you imagine life before devices? We can’t either. Our culture is steeped in technology use for both work and play. Though convenient, we also need to look at the unintended consequences, like digital eye strain.

Dangers of blue light

Screens can harm our vision and overall health. Anyone who uses electronics for any length of time is at risk if they aren’t proactive about lifestyle modifications.

You might wonder why gadgets pose such a risk in the first place. Experts point to the blue lights emitted by smartphones and other consumer electronics as contributing factors. These lights have a glaring effect on the eyes, which can result in a myriad of symptoms, like dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, nearsightedness, and eye fatigue.

But it doesn’t end here, unfortunately. Research indicates that blue light decreases the chemical melatonin in the blood. This is the hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep, so it’s important to maintain optimum levels. That’s why sleep experts say it’s a good idea to power down at least two hours before bedtime to give your body and brain time to ease into sleep.

This goes for both adults and children. Younger people may be more prone to digital eye strain because they’re still learning self-control and boundaries. That’s why it’s up to parents to monitor and intervene when necessary.

Protect your eyesight

As far as best practices for the general population, there are several things you can do to protect your vision and safeguard your eyes from the harms of blue light-emitting devices:

1. Break up screen time. Hours in front of a device without a respite can take its toll on your eye health, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise discretion. Take breaks every 20 minutes. This is known as the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will help you get thru a workday while keeping eye health top of mind.
2. Look to the experts. Parents: do you need some advice on how to set and enforce rules concerning screen time? Your optometrist or family practitioner can help. Also, when you set and honor your own parameters for screen time, you are leading by example.
3. Visit your eye doctor regularly. Nothing can substitute for a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your eye health. Your eye doctor can check for potential signs of deterioration and advise you on the best course of action.

Digging deeper

Here are just a few health issues that may be discovered during an eye exam:

Diabetes — Diabetes affects the small capillaries in the retina of the eyes. In the event of diabetic retinopathy, these blood vessels may leak blood or a yellowish fluid. An eye exam can detect such a condition so you can control it and avoid further complications.

Hypertension — While not always the case in all patients, uncontrolled and prolonged high blood pressure can affect the anatomy of the eye, causing blood vessels to appear inflamed.

Autoimmune disorders — If the eye is inflamed, this could be an indication of Lupus or another autoimmune disorder.

High cholesterol — Patients with high triglycerides, i.e., bad cholesterol, may have corneas that appear yellow. Plaques in the blood vessels of the retina can also be markers of elevated cholesterol.

Thyroid disease — The butterfly-shaped gland in the neck affects many of the body’s processes, including metabolism. Bulging eyes or protruding eyeballs can be physical signs of a more acute thyroid condition known as Graves’ Disease.

Cancer— If your eye’s anatomy looks irregular, you may be referred to a specialist to get a second opinion. Ocular melanoma can develop in the cells that make pigmentation in the eye. Your eye exam can even help detect the early stages of skin cancer. Cancerous growths can appear on the eyelid and could even spread to the brain through the eye, so it’s important to be proactive and follow up as needed.

It’s said that the eyes are the window into one’s overall health — and we know that to be true. Taking measures to prevent digital eye strain, along with annual eye examinations is a vital component of maintaining excellent overall health.

Prevention matters

An experienced optometrist can work with your medical team to accurately diagnose and treat several health conditions. With a preventive approach to care, you can preserve your eye health and vision as you age. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and rest easier knowing an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Know that we’re here to help address any vision-related concerns, too, and can refer you to a specialist as needed. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us here for more information about eye health. We look forward to hearing from you. Remember, only you can put your health first.

Productivity secret: learn to relax more

Young woman doing Lotus exercise, mudra gesture close upStressed out. Overworked. Under-appreciated.

Do any of these words come up during a typical work day for you? Have you ever found yourself bogged down at work, saddled with five projects, a full inbox and a foot-high stack of papers on your desk, and you have no idea which task should come next? The solution to the overload might surprise you. Ironically, rest proves the key to boosting productivity. Take a look at these three reasons why more R&R is often the recipe for on-the-job success.

  1. Get some Z’s. Less is more, when it comes to hours spent on the job. Over-working actually takes a toll on your performance. In a study of nearly 400 employees, researchers found sleeping less than six hours per night proved one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout. A good night’s sleep can be the key to finishing that monster-sized project that is bearing down on you.
  2. Get out of town: More vacation days provide the antidote to burnout. According to an internal survey from Ernst & Young, employees who took an additional 10 hours of vacation per year, saw year-end performance ratings from supervisors improve by a whopping eight percent. And, frequent vacationers in the firm were significantly less likely to leave their jobs.
  3. Get in some mat time: Yoga is a great way to center yourself. The best part: You don’t have to go to an expensive studio to practice, as you will find a list of some great relaxation poses here. Journaling is another effective way to regain your focus.

Keep in mind the amount of energy invested in a job is more important than the number of hours you’re parked at a desk. Manage your energy levels more intentionally, and you’ll discover that it’s possible to get more done, in less time. That’s why setting aside ample time for yourself, so you can become the best employee you can be, is a wise investment in your career.

Top 10 foods for hormonal balance

62536051 - book with words hormone imbalance symptoms on a table.Truth be told, you probably don’t go about thinking about the hormonal impact of what they’re about to eat. All that’s most likely top of mind is quenching that raging hunger in your stomach.

But if you realize how important hormones are, you’d pay a little more attention to that. Your hormones affect all facets of your body, including stress levels, digestion, metabolism, sleep, and even brain function. What’s more, hormone imbalances are the primary reasons for a wide range of medical issues like weight gain, diabetes, and infertility.

To prevent that from happening, we turn our attention to 10 foods that can help improve your body’s hormonal balance.

#1 Avocado

Avocado is one of the healthiest fruits available because they are packed with lots of beneficial nutrients.

This superfood uniquely contains a high source of plant sterols. Research has shown that eating plant sterols can lower cholesterol and improve heart health. It also increases progesterone in women and testosterone in men, leading to improved fertility.

Avocados can be eaten raw just like any other food. But you can also sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and pepper to add extra seasoning.

#2 Almonds

Dietitians often point us to nuts as a healthy snack because of their impressive nutritional benefits.

For instance, almonds can help increase your body’s adiponectin hormone. This hormone is what’s responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. By increasing this hormone, you significantly lower your risk of diabetes.

Eating almonds also helps to improve skin texture, particularly in women, by reducing their testosterone levels. Because almonds can affect testosterone levels, it is important for men to first consult their doctor before including it in their regimen.

#3 Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and metabolism-boosting compounds. Green tea also contains theanine, a compound that reduces the release of stress hormones (cortisol). What’s more, antioxidants reduce your risk of inflammation and diseases.

By drinking green tea regularly, women may get increased and healthy levels of progesterone. This improved balance in estrogen levels helps to manage some unpleasant menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.

#4 Broccoli

If you’re like most people, you had your mom force you to eat broccoli as a kid. Well, she did you right! Broccoli contains phytoestrogen compounds which may promote beneficial estrogen metabolism.

Broccoli sprouts also contain sulforaphane, a compound that helps reduce your risk of hormone-related tumors. You should eat broccoli raw, with a dip, or in a salad, to get the most nutrient out of it.

#5 Flaxseed

Some say flaxseed is one the most powerful foods on earth. It’s hard to argue with that when you realize that research has shown this superfood to reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and even stroke.

In addition, flaxseed may help reduce inflammation by providing anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

#6 Maca Root

Maca helps you to stabilize your mood and maintain positive energy. It also provides relief from mood swings caused by hormonal imbalance. This is achieved by lowering levels of cortisol in the body.

Maca may help with a wide range of sexual dysfunctions, from boosting sperm motility to increasing sex drive in men and women. You can eat Maca in capsule form or spray it into beverages if it’s in powdered form.

#7 Apples

You’ve probably heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. That’s 100% true! Apples are very beneficial to your hormonal health.

Packed with vitamin C, apples promote the production of progesterone, which in turn helps reduce your risk of anxiety and depression. What’s more, apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation.

#8 Salmon

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The same is true of other fatty fishes like lake trout, sardines, herring, and albacore tuna. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What’s more, salmon reduces inflammation and helps control insulin. It also improves mood and cognition by enhancing cell-to-cell communication.

#9 Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are packed with several beneficial nutrients that help fight against inflammation and lower your cortisol levels. This, in turn, reduces overall stress levels, as well as wear and tear on the body.

Leafy greens also act as a natural antioxidant that can help boost your iron and energy levels. Examples of leafy greens include kale, arugula, and rapini, among many others.

#10 Turmeric

For thousands of years, turmeric has been used for its medicinal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s high curcumin content is what gives it this superpower.

What’s more, curcumin has also been shown to boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which promotes the growth of new neurons, and fights against degenerative brain processes.

We understand that health related issues can be highly nuanced, complex, technical, and based on the individual – and we are here to help guide you through the process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us here for more information. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

New ways to fight an old problem

Beautiful Yoga: Matsyendrasana PoseIt’s a tragedy of epidemic proportions. Each year, we lose more and more people to the opioid crisis. Because of soaring overdose deaths (deaths in the U.S. from opioid-related overdoses jumped another 21 percent in 2018), American life expectancy dropped for several years in a row during the late 2010s.

And it’s not some street drug such as heroin or crack cocaine that’s bringing down everyday working people in the United States, but rather a series of prescriptions being willingly given by doctors across the country, ostensibly to treat pain. OxyContin, Fentanyl, Percocet … whatever name it goes by, opium derivatives are still among the most highly addictive substances known to man.

It’s no great secret that powerful pain killers have become a major problem, both in dense urban areas and in rural cities and towns. From the deep south to the Pacific Northwest, this is an epidemic that touches every corner of the country. Each year, the death toll climbs. Each year, someone doesn’t make it to the end of the year, and another family is shattered, another life wasted.

As a result, there has been a big spike in interest surrounding alternative pain treatments and medicines. Whether it be yoga, massage, or better nutrition, people from coast-to-coast are ditching pills in favor of a natural pain-free life.

Even more, researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that something as simple as regular yoga can go a long way in relieving the symptoms of chronic pain. They also studied acupuncture, relaxation techniques, massage therapy, and nutritional supplements.

While many of the studies in question did not specifically comment on the effects of alternative treatments in reference to opioid use, it does suggest that people could greatly benefit from alternative treatments where treating chronic pain is concerned.

Further studies are ongoing, but the initial findings are promising. In the search for safer options than the powerful pain killers we’ve become accustomed to, alternative medicine is a welcome sight.